Setting Guidelines #1

After church one Sunday, a young mother asked me how we kept our daughters from listening to secular rock music
when they were growing up. My response shocked her. I told her that we had allowed our daughters to listen to any secular
music they wanted to, watch any television program they wanted to, watch any movie or video they wanted to, and they
were able to listen to any radio station they wanted to. As my friend caught her breath from surprise, I finished by stating,
?All my daughters had to do was to prove to me and their mother that their desired entertainment fit within the family
entertainment guidelines.?
After the family sets up fair and reasonable guidelines, I don?t believe it is the parents? responsibility to keep the ?bad
stuff? out; it is up to the child to prove that it is worthy enough to fit in the home.
This is why I suggest that every family have entertainment guidelines. It makes life a lot easier. No matter where you
set your guideline, your children are going to push your limits. If you don?t have limits, or if your limit is here one day and
there the next, he doesn?t know how far he can push you. This causes confusion for your child. Confusion leads to anger.
Anger leads to fights. And you will never fight your child into making the right decision.
The Bible teaches that we are in a spiritual battle and I believe the entertainment media supplies the ammunition aimed
at our family. Since that is the case, why not make your entertainment decisions before they become an area of conflict? My
suggestion is that you take entertainment guidelines seriously and that you make setting them a matter of prayer for you and
your spouse. Think about it. How much is too much? When can we watch? What kind of music is allowed? How loud can it
be? What movies are acceptable? What values are allowed in our home? Why is this so important? Let me explain.
A few years ago, when my older daughter came home from college for the holidays, she was watching a funny
movie on the television. Ghostbusters was a fairly innocent comedy about eliminating ghosts and demons that were
causing New York City grief. After a few minutes, she reminded me that it didn?t fit in our family guidelines when it first
came out. ?That?s funny, Dad. Why wouldn?t you allow us to watch this when it was in the theaters? There?s nothing
wrong with this,? she asked.
My response was simple, ?It?s a movie about demons and demon possession. Have you forgotten that when that
movie first came out you were nine ? not nineteen? It was my job as your father to protect your mind. I didn?t believe then
nor do I now that demons, no matter how ?funny? are appropriate for a nine-year-old. You now have the freedom to make
your own decisions, but when you were a little girl, you didn?t know the difference between what was good and bad. And
we had to help you find the standard. All you cared about was if your friends liked it. Was it funny? Was it exciting? Did it
have cute boys in it?”
In the same way, protecting your children?s minds has to become one of your main responsibilities as a parent. If
your children are normal, they want to watch and listen to everything their friends are watching and listening to. You have to
help them set a standard of what is acceptable. What is good, and what is best. You are held legally responsible for your
children wearing a seatbelt in a car even when they don?t see the need. It is a responsibility most parents take very seriously.
It is also your responsibility to protect her mind when she is being exposed to spiritual warfare. And your first line of
defense in the battle for their mind is to set entertainment guidelines.
Next time, we will discuss how to set guidelines that will encourage your child to learn to think biblically.
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